Cubs Present Infamous Fan Steve Bartman with 2016 World Series Ring

Posted on: August 1, 2017, 04:38h. 

Last updated on: August 1, 2017, 04:51h.

Steve Bartman, the most famous Chicago Cubs fan for all the wrong reasons, was presented an official 2016 World Series ring by the baseball team as a gesture of apology for one of the ugliest incidents in the ball club’s storied history.

Steve Bartman's World Series ring
The Chicago Cubs tried to welcome ostracized fan Steve Bartman back into their family with an official 2016 World Series ring. (Image: WGN)

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, as well as President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and President of Operations Crane Kenney gave the ring to the longtime fan on Monday at Wrigley Field.

Epstein had expressed a desire to do as much ever since joining the organization in 2011, eight years after Bartman was vilified for reaching for a foul ball in the 2003 National League Championship Series. Fans blamed Bartman for the team’s losing the NLCS and failing to reach the World Series. When the team finally won the World Series in 2016, ending a championship drought that stretched back 108 years, many were ready to forgive the now 40-year-old fan.

“We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series,” the Cubs said in a statement. “While no gesture can fully lift the public burden he has endured for more than a decade, we felt it was important Steve knows he has been and continues to be fully embraced by this organization. After all he has sacrificed, we are proud to recognize Steve Bartman with this gift today.”

Persona Non-Grata

When the incident happened 14 years ago, the financial services consultant was pelted with debris and had beer dumped on him as security escorted him out of Wrigley Field. It didn’t get better after the game, as Bartman received death threats from other fans. He had to have police stationed outside his home after people posted his home address on Major League Baseball message boards.

In the following years, Bartman turned down numerous interview requests, book deals, and even a six-figure offer to appear in a Super Bowl commercial.

When the Cubs finally reached the World Series last year, many were calling for him to throw out the first pitch at one of the home games, but he said through a representative that he did not want to take away attention from the team.

Die-Hard Fan Redemption

When the Cubs, who were 6-1 favorites to capture the title before the season began, won the Commissioner’s Trophy, baseball fans again showed they had changed their tune, and were lobbying Bartman to participate in the victory parade. He politely declined.

He remained a Cubs fan, but never went back to the iconic stadium. That is until Monday, when he received the ring and a personal tour of Wrigley Field, which he had not set foot in for 14 painful years.

“Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor,” Bartman said in a statement that would serve as his only public comments about the matter, “I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring. I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over.”